November brings joy to many as we usher in another holiday season with friends and family. It’s a happy time for many of us as we bring out the festive decorations and prepare our shopping lists, but it can be a very anxious time of year for those struggling to make ends meet.
The number of people we see every week continues to grow well past pandemic days, and for many people who visit us, this is their first time at a food pantry.
Recently a man I’ll call Tom (for confidentiality) came into Loaves & Fishes and sat down at a registration desk, visibly shaken. He had a genuine smile, but underneath I could see that he was extremely nervous and uncomfortable. The volunteer picked up on this, immediately calmed his nerves, and reassured him that we would help. He shared with us that this was his first time at a food pantry and that he didn’t really know what to do. He continued, telling us that he’d been a donor of Loaves & Fishes for many years prior and that he recently fell into hard times. He said, “I’ve always been on the other side of this situation, I was making really good money, living the life, and now I’m the one who needs help.” Tom found himself in a situation he never thought he’d be in and didn’t know where to turn. I’ll never forget that day. It reminds me that we are all vulnerable and that I should continue to be thankful for my blessings. It also gives me great comfort to know that there are wonderful people here to help.
We are tremendously thankful for our community’s generosity and compassion, which helps the over 6,000 people we serve weekly. Your support is vital to moving our mission forward and providing hope for families struggling this holiday season and first-time visitors like Tom.